Major UK wholesaler, Bestway has revealed its financial performance figures for the year to 30 June 2012, with overall group sales surpassing £2.5bn for the first time. Within that, its key UK wholesaling division saw turnover increase by 5.7% reaching £2.3bn. Wholesaling profitability was down slightly to £58.2m, impacted by costs for the integration of acquired businesses and the set up of new depots and infrastructure.
Continued investment depots and infrastructure
Bestway opened two new cash & carry depots in 2011/12 at Brighton and Team Valley taking their total portfolio to 62, further enhancing its coverage of key urban catchments. The year also saw the business investing significantly in its distribution infrastructure to boost its product capabilities. A new chilled facility, added to Bestway's central distribution site at Coventry, gives it in-house resource to support the development of chilled ranges for the first time. While initially only supplying to its wholesale depots branches, this chilled service will be extended direct to customers in the future.
Major online launch
Another notable area of investment in the year was the launch of a fully transactional website accessible to all customers, offering the full Bestway in-depot range and all the latest promotions available within the business. Many depots now offer delivery service to support online ordering (subject to minimum order sizes), though click and collect also provides a more flexible fulfilment option from most depots. Growth of traffic through the new site has been rapid, indicating significant latent demand, with the value of online orders now running at an estimated £130m on an annualised basis.
Retail support programmes expanding
Bestway remains substantially a retail focused wholesaler serving the needs of tens of thousands of independent retailers across the UK. Bestway offers a notable range of initiatives to engage with and support these customers. Its full service symbol group package, Best-One, continues to grow quickly as a lower cost alternative to older established symbols, and now has over 950 member stores. The less formal retail club under the Xtra Local and Best-In banners now includes 2,500 stores. The more recently launched specialist pet retail club has grown quickly to 527 stores.
Private label development
Bestway has one of the best developed private label ranges in UK wholesaling and 2012 has seen the offer expanded with the launch of the value focused Best-In Essentials offer of 34 lines; offering retailers scope to provide low prices to shoppers while sustaining a commercial margin. Overall private label sales grew by 14% in the year, reaching £103m at wholesale prices.
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